Sealing a concrete installation, both poured on in the form of pavers, is one of the most important aspects of it. It’s the final step of the process and what ensures your installation will be protected for years to come. But how long does it take for concrete sealer to dry?
That is an important question. After all, you don’t want to rush into using a recently sealed installation before it is dry. So let’s talk about the timeframe it takes for a sealer to dry, as well as the importance of sealing as a whole.
How Long Does Sealers Take to Dry?
That question can be more challenging than it seems at first. Mainly because there are many type of sealers you can use on your concrete installation.
First, we have to make a quick, albeit important, distinction here. Drying is different from finish reacting.
What does that mean? Well, by drying we mean that the sealer will be, basically, safe to be walked upon. Most sealers can quickly dry between 1 and 3 hours, but take as long as 90 days to finish fully reacting to the concrete, for example.
So let’s talk about the different kinds of sealers and their respective drying times.
Acrylic Concrete Sealers
Maybe the most popular sealer available, responsible for that “wet look” that many homeowners look for, as well as the low and high gloss finishes.
These sealers usually take around 48 hours to be completely dry, so any activity before that is forbidden. Although, if absolutely necessary, they can be walked on after 12 hours.
Silane and Siliconate Sealers
These categories of sealers are designed to prevent the absorption of water. They reduce the damage that can be caused by free-thaw cycles, being an excellent choice for regions of extreme weather.
Furthermore, they also prevent the formation of mold, mildew and efflorescence. Unlike the acrylic sealers, they won’t change the appearance of the pavers and work completely below the surface.
For that reason, they appear to dry and can be safely walked upon as soon as 30 minutes after the application, but they take up to 72 hours to become fully functional, so avoid activity during that timeframe.
Silicate Concrete Sealers
These are simply made to make maintenance easier. They prevent the formation of dust and improve the strength of the installation as a whole.
They are a good idea to keep balconies and outdoor living spaces tidy and free of dust. And, with improved strength, they are less prone to be damaged by a power wash, one of the most effective cleaning methods of concrete there is.
They also dry very quickly, up to 1 hour tops, but take a long time to fully react with the concrete. You might have to wait up to 90 days for it to be completely dry.
Urethane Coating Sealers
Urethane coatings are your sealers of choice for interior concrete installations. They are designed to protect the concrete against oil and chemicals.
Here we have a great variance of drying times, really dependable of the brand you end up choosing. The best is to always follow the label instructions.
Still, most options will have a time frame of 36 to 48 hours to dry, so it is not a good idea to wait at least two days for it to be completely dry.
Epoxy Coating Sealers
Epoxy is an overall enhancer and protector for interior concrete installations. It changes a bit the color of the concrete, making it a little brighter while also improving its resistance.
They can be walked on after about 12 hours, but get completely dry only after a 48-hour period.
Factors that Influence Concrete Sealer Drying Time
There are two external factors that can influence how long does it take for concrete sealer to dry.
Temperature is the first of these factors. Basically, the hotter the region, the quicker the sealer can dry. It is important to avoid applying the sealer during very hot days.
The second factor is humidity. This is also very important at the moment of applying the sealer. It is a good idea to wait for at least two days without rain, for the pavers to be completely dry before applying the sealer.
The Importance of Sealing
Concrete is a porous material. That means that any spills can penetrate its surface and affect the very constitution of the material. Without sealing, they are susceptible to stains and damage by freeze-thaw cycles in the water that gets accumulated inside the concrete.
Sealing protects no only against that, but also against the accumulation of mold and weeds, if you’re working with pavers.
Sealing is the final step on any concrete installation process. It is a step that cannot be overlooked, essential for the long-lasting of your installation.
Professional Help With Sealing
One of the safest ways to approach the sealing of your concrete installation is to hire professionals to help you.
They can help you determine how long does it take for a concrete sealer to dry and help you choose the best one for your specific installation.
Most professionals, like us here at JS Brick, can even make the sealing for you, ensuring you’ll end up with the best possible job.
It is a service we’ve been providing for our loyal customers around the Sarasota and Manatee Counties during our 20 years of activity.
If you happen to be around the area, give us a call anytime at +1 941 586 9140 or email us at [email protected]. We would be happy to help with your sealing and any other paver installation or maintenance need you might have.